Two weeks before the Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline, the Los Angeles Angels are hovering around the .500 mark, which leaves one question hanging over the entire sport: Will the Halos trade free-agent-to-be Shohei Ohtani?
Though we don't yet know what the Angels' decision will be, we aren't about to let that stop us from trying to find the best trade partner for a potential Ohtani blockbuster.
We asked our MLB experts to play GM for nine teams that could potentially pull off a deal for Ohtani, making their best possible offers to land the two-way superstar, and we enlisted Jeff Passan to decide which proposals are worth the Angels' time.
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Tampa Bay Rays
Proposed deal: RHP Shane Baz, 2B/3B Curtis Mead, 1B Xavier Isaac, RHP Marcus Johnson
An Ohtani trade wouldn't constitute a rebuild for the Angels; they'd want to try to win again next season, and they'd be looking to add players who are (1) controllable for several years and (2) ready to contribute in 2024. That's why this is the perfect package.
Baz has the ability to become one of the most dominant pitchers on the planet, and he should be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery for the start of 2024. Mead, No. 34 on Kiley McDaniel's latest prospect rankings, boasts a nice combination of contact ability and power and can be the everyday second baseman next season, plus he provides insurance for an injury-prone Anthony Rendon at third base.
This is an aggressive package, especially when you consider the lower-level, higher-ceiling guys tacked on. But the Rays are a championship-caliber team that could use a boost and would never have a chance at a superstar player like this if not for the trade market. Who knows — maybe Ohtani, who has taken to analytics since working out at Driveline three winters ago, falls in love with the infrastructure in Tampa, and the Rays, trying to finalize a new stadium in the area, do the impossible and sign him long term. Wilder things have happened. For now, though, Ohtani for the rest of this season alone would place them head and shoulders above everybody else. — Alden Gonzalez